The Latest: England city put under tighter restrictions
LONDON — The large town of Warrington is the latest part of England to be put under tightened restrictions as part of a three-tier system to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The government says the city in northwest England will move to the top “very high” risk Tier 3 on Tuesday. That means most pubs and bars will have to close, non-essential travel outside the area is discouraged and people can’t mix indoors with members of other households.
The case rate per 100,000 people in Warrington is twice the national average.
Warrington is between Liverpool and Manchester, which have some of the country’s highest COVID-19 infection rates and are already in Tier 3.
There are mixed signs about whether measures introduced in the last few weeks have stemmed a steep rise in coronavirus infections. Government scientific advisers say there are some signs the increase has begun to level off since the three-tier system of restrictions came into force, but that it is too soon to be certain.
Britain has seen Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, with almost 45,000 confirmed deaths.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Trump to intensify his campaign schedule despite U.S. virus surge, new White House outbreak
— Wary of angering public with restrictions, Iran has few ways to contain virus
— Nations across Europe enact more sweeping restrictions to try to slow surging infection rates
— Mexico acknowledges far more deaths than officially confirmed, saying 139,153 now attributable to COVID-19
— El Paso, Texas imposes curfew as virus cases overwhelm hospitals
— COVID-19 cases surge in north-central West Virginia county, shutting down schools and sports
— Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norway on Monday put a nationwide limit for public gatherings to 50, down from 200, and at the same time urged that a maximum five guests at a time can visit people in private homes.
The announcement by Prime Minister Erna Solberg came ahead of the traditional Christmas parties held by companies, associations and privates across Norway. These events are traditionally held before Christmas eve when Norwegian celebrate Yule.
The new restrictions start Tuesday at midnight and last until early December but can be extended if needed.
Norway has had 17,908 confirmed COVID-19 cases ad 279 deaths.
BERLIN — The Bavarian city of Nuremberg has canceled its big Christmas market, one of Germany’s best-known, because of fast-rising coronavirus infections.
The bustling Christkindlesmarkt is traditionally a big tourist draw. City officials originally wanted to go ahead with the event under strict hygiene rules, but mayor Marcus Koenig said Monday they concluded even that would send the wrong signal as virus cases rise.
Germany, like other European countries, has seen new virus cases rise rapidly over the past two weeks.
Nuremberg is currently seeing 76 new cases per 100,000 infections over seven days, well above the 50 mark at which local authorities have to start taking action.
TIRANA, Albania — Albanian authorities have decided to open a new COVID-19 hospital with 150 beds after the existing two hospitals are reaching their limits.
Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu on Monday said that the two existing COVID-related hospitals with 320 beds are reaching their limits and the new one will open this week.
Albania has seen a surge of the daily new virus cases, doubling compared to two weeks ago.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said Albania’s cumulative figure for new cases per 100,000 inhabitants has increased to 131 cases compared to 75 cases two weeks ago.
Authorities have reported 19,157 confirmed cases with 477 confirmed related deaths, as of Sunday.
Holding the mask is mandatory indoors and outdoors and police have fined hundreds of Albanians not wearing it every day.
PRAGUE — Prague has announced it is canceling its major traditional Christmas markets due to a record surge in coronavirus infections.
City Hall said Monday that it is necessary step “to curb the further uncontrolled spread of the pandemic.”
The decision applies to the most famed market at the picturesque Old Town Square that is considered by media one of the best in Europe, and also for the ones at Wenceslas and Republic squares.
Prague says it is still planning to erect a traditional Christmas tree at the Old Town market, and if the epidemic makes it possible, also allow few small stalls.
A number of cities across Europe have announced the same move while some others, such as Vienna, will go ahead as usual.
The Czech Republic had 258,097 confirmed cases, with about one third of the number registered in the last seven days. So far, 2,201 people have died, 1,528 of them in October.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen over the past two weeks from about 46 new cases per 100,000 people on Oct. 11 to 112 new cases per 100,000 people on Sunday.
BERLIN — A second German district is to go into a de-facto lockdown as new coronavirus infections surge in the country and across Europe.
News agency dpa reported that local authorities in Bavaria’s Rottal-Inn county, on the border with Austria, said Monday that the restrictions will begin at midnight. Rottal-Inn follows Berchtesgaden, another Bavarian county in Germany’s southeastern corner, which introduced similar restrictions last week.
Schools and kindergartens will be closed and events canceled, and people told not to leave their homes without good reason.
Rottal-Inn has recorded well over 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over the past seven days. In Germany, districts are required to take measures once new infections top the 50 mark, and many have done so in recent weeks — imposing measures such as early bar closures and requirements to wear masks outdoors in some public places.
Germany’s new infections have been increasing by sometimes record numbers over the past two weeks, though they are still considerably short of the numbers seen in many other European countries.
EL PASO, Texas — Residents in the Texas border city of El Paso have been urged to stay home for two weeks as a spike in coronavirus cases overwhelms hospitals.
The uptick in virus cases has also prompted the state to dedicate part of the city’s civic center as a makeshift heath care center for the ill. On Sunday night, El Paso County’s top elected official issued a stay-at-home order that imposes a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Violators could be fined $500 under the order.
Earlier Sunday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said 50 hospital beds will be set up in the city’s convention center and another 50 beds could be added if needed. The state has already sent over 900 medical personnel to El Paso, some of whom will be staffing the convention center site.
El Paso County health officials reported 772 new coronavirus cases Sunday, a day after a record 1,216 new infections were reported.
MADRID — Authorities in Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia are considering a mandatory stay-at-home order for weekends only, one of the strictest measures being imposed across the country to combat a sharp resurgence of the coronavirus.
Under a new state of emergency declared by the national government on Sunday, Spain’s 17 regions and two autonomous cities can tailor restrictions that include a nationwide overnight curfew, a cap of six people on social gatherings and possible regional travel bans.
Only Spain’s Canary Islands, where the curve of contagion has been kept at bay, will be exempted from the 11 p.m.-6 a.m. general curfew, which other regions’ officials can decide to push one hour earlier or later.
The aim is to rein in infections from gatherings of family and friends at home or in bars.
The Spanish government wants the state of emergency to be extended later this week until May with as many votes as possible in the country’s parliament.
Spain last week became the first European country to surpass 1 million officially recorded COVID-19 cases, although officials say that the real figure could be way above 3 million.
LONDON — British authorities are likely to tighten restrictions on more areas of the country this week, amid mixed signs about whether recent measures have stemmed a steep rise in coronavirus infections.
Government scientific advisers say there are some signs the increase has begun to level off since a three-tier virus risk system of restrictions came into effect, but that it’s too soon to be certain.
A large chunk of northern England, including the major cities of Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, has been placed in the top tier of “very high” risk, with pubs closed and people from different households barred from mixing.
The regional disparities are causing friction between local politicians in the north and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, which has been accused of not doing enough to support people and businesses hit by the local lockdowns.
The government is talking to local leaders in other areas, including the city of Warrington in northwest England and the central England county of Nottinghamshire, about moving into the highest tier.
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have established their own public health rules, with Wales introducing the strictest measure: a 17-day lockdown for all its 3 million people.
Britain has Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, with almost 45,000 confirmed deaths.
PARIS — Virus patients now occupy more than half of France’s intensive care units, and some doctors are urging tougher restrictions after another record jump in confirmed infections.
Dr. Jean-Francois Delfraissy, head of the government’s virus advisory body, expressed surprise Monday at the “brutality” of the rise, after more than 52,000 new cases were reported Sunday.
Speaking on RTL radio, he floated the idea of local lockdowns or extending France’s 9p.m. to 6 a.m. curfews, which currently cover about half of the country and more than two-thirds of its people.
The number of people hospitalized in France with the virus has climbed sharply in recent weeks, putting renewed pressure on ICUs. COVID patients now fill more than two-thirds of the ICUs in the Paris region.
Dr. Eric Caumes, head of the infectious and tropical diseases department at Paris’ Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, told broadcaster Franceinfo on Monday that “we have lost control of the epidemic, though it doesn’t date from yesterday.”
France has been among countries hardest-hit by the pandemic, reporting 34,761 virus-related deaths. It is currently registering more than 340 positive cases per 100,000 people nationwide each week.
Delfraissy warns this latest wave of the virus could be “stronger than the first” and is spreading all around Europe.
ZAGREB, Croatia — Croatia’s minister of tourism has tested positive for coronavirus as the small European Union nation continued to report a surge in the new cases.
The state Hina news agency said Nikolina Brnjac tested positive after attending a government meeting Saturday. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic tested negative, the government said Monday, but two ministers who sat next to Brnjac have been told to self-isolate.
Experts in Croatia and some neighboring countries blame the country’s summer tourist season for the rise in new cases, saying there was little or no distancing on Adriatic beaches or in nightclubs.
On Saturday, Croatia’s daily number of new infections soared past 2,000 for the first time.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — As of Monday, Denmark lowered the limit for public gatherings to 10 from a previous 50 and urged that the same number is respected for get-togethers in private homes.
There were a few exceptions, namely sporting events where there can be a maximum of 500 people inside a stadium and funerals where 50 people can gather.
Another new restriction is no alcohol can be sold after 10 p.m.
From Thursday on, it will be mandatory in Denmark to wear face masks in public places like supermarkets, libraries and theaters.
Earlier the government has ordered people to wear face masks on public transportation and when walking inside restaurants, bars or cafes.
Denmark has had 40,356 confirmed virus cases and 702 reported deaths.